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This was Chingo's prelude to the Blasted War event, hence the sense of mystery and foreboding.

The knife cut in deeply to the felboar's recently-made corpse. The creature's crazed dead eyes made no movement as its guts spilt out onto the red corrupted earth of Hellfire Peninsula. A collection of the animal's kin lay in similar gory conditions along the landscape. All the work of one gnome.

Big Chingo examined the creature's flesh closely. He stroked his beaed with his free hand as his own eyes narrowed. The colour was different to normal, somehow... A touch more vibrant, maybe. He gave it a curious sniff. Ugh. The stench of fel was even worse than normal...

Whenever Chingo was bored, he'd go to Honour Hold and cull the local corrupted wildlife. It was lazy, it allowed for perfecting spells, and training on other less useful ones, and of course, he could skin as much as he liked. As demonic as the skin of these creatures were, they were very tough, and very resilient. Perfect material for leather armour. It wasn't too far of a walk out of Honor Hold, either. It meant he could sell his wears and catch up with the undertaker there, and tell him news from Azeroth.

He looked out towards the Orcish Fortress of Zeth'Gor. It didn't seem any different. Stubborn, blood-thirsty fel orcs manned the walls. He looked north. Thrallmar too was unchanged this day. He looked back to the corpse.

There was no mistaking it. Something was different. Where the difference was coming from would be a fool's errand to try and work out, but Chingo had the very good idea that someone should be told.

Carrying the creature's skin with his left hand, he walked up the slope towards Honour Hold. An elderly gate guard, assisted by a younger soldier who'd came from the Portal, greeted him. Chingo nodded and passed through. And then...

"TAKE COVER!" Infernal fire rained down from the sky. Chingo held down the rim of his hat as he ran towards the inn. In the corner of his vision he saw the same elderly soldier crushed underneath the horrifyingly large form of a boulder. The human didn't stand a chance. Chingo heard the yells of similar victims, and as he reached the entrance of the inn, he turned himself around to see the carnage unfold.

He hadn't seen anything like this before. A blizzard of Infernals came down, much more than he was used to. They thundered against the ground, knocking down fences, damaging the perimeter walls, and completely obliterating outhouses. The sounds of rock smashing against the stone paths was all that could be heard for little under a minute, before it all went silent again.

'Bloody hell,' he murmured. He looked over his shoulder to see a pair of bewildered guards. Young reinforcements - he hadn't seen them about before. 'What yer waitin' for? Get out there and drag the wounded away!' he demanded, making his own way out.

As he looked around the scattered fortress, yet more shapes in the sky drew his attention. But these were nothing to run away from. Gryphon riders from the north, having completed their tasks at the throne of the Burning Legion commander Chingo could never pronounce properly, and with urgency on their faces, they landed in the courtyard.

'What's wrong with you?' he asked the leading one. The dwarf rubbed his left eye. It had been badly cut.

'The Throne... it's like nothing you've ever seen before. Hardly any felbloods left. But line after line of portals... and troops. Oh, they've got so many troops...'

Chingo looked from the dwarf, to the skin he was still holding in his greasy gloved hands. He gave it another sniff. Then he leaned in to the dwarf, and gave him a sniff as well.

'Get to a priest. Now,' he said. The dwarf looked hesistant. 'Now, yer daft git! And the rest of yers! Go on! Now!'

As they scurried off at his angered order, Chingo didn't bother walking the rest of the way to the barracks. He ran.

And across the portal... The sounds of feet stamping on the ground all at the same time was one of the less ominous things to be heard...

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